The Elephant

A sculptor once carved a beautiful elephant out of a single piece of marble. It was pure white and intricately decorated with jewels, embedded into the stone. It was a fine piece of workmanship indeed. The sculptor decided to gift his creation to the king. The king was greatly pleased and gave a real elephant to the sculptor in return.

When the sculptor returned to his village, he happily narrated the incident to all the villagers. His neighbour Ravi felt very jealous. He thought, “If the king can give a live elephant in return for a statue, surely if I give him a more valuable gift, I would also get a much, much more valuable gift in return.” So Ravi, sold his house, cattle and a major part of his land. He bought a real elephant and gifted it to the king, thinking that he would surely get at least a village in return or perhaps the king would make him his minister.

The king was surprised that an ordinary farmer should give him such a costly present. He ordered his minister to find out more about Ravi. The minister went to the village and enquired about Ravi. The motive behind the gift came to light. The wise minister narrated everything to the king.

Realizing that greed was the root from which this gesture had stemmed, the king decided to teach Ravi a lesson.

Next day in court, the king praised Ravi and thanked him for the fine gift. In return he presented to him, the elephant statue that had been earlier gifted to the king by the sculptor! Greed met its own match.